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Internet Hate Machine is a term initially used by a Los Angeles news station to describe Anonymous, which has since been co-opted as an inside joke by members of the group. The label can be seen as a testament to the perception gap between outsiders who may feel that Anonymous actions are carried out of sadistic pleasure and insiders of the group who insist they’re done for the lulz, or one’s comedic enjoyment.
The term “Internet Hate Machine” was coined during a news story on Anonymous broadcast by Los Angeles Fox affiliate KTTV on July 26th 2007, which characterized the group as hackers, cyber bullies and "domestic terrorists.” The report also called the group “hackers on steroids” with an unrelated video clip of an exploding van as a depiction of Anonymous’ real-life terrorism.
The following day, a thread about the report was posted to 4chan’s /a/ (anime) board. On July 28th, the video was linked on the front page of Slashdot and the term was defined twice on Urban Dictionary, both written in a joking manner. On the same day, a thread about the “Internet Hate Machine” was posted to pharmaceutical professionals message board CafePharma, which was largely met by mocking replies from other forum members. On July 29th, YouTuber AnonymousHateMachine uploaded a response video, noting that the news station had completely missed the point of Anonymous.
In the following months, two YTMND sites were created in tribute to the phrase. During Project Chanology in 2008, “Internet Hate Machine” has been referenced in webcomics by xkcd] and Bigger Than Cheeses. In 2009, Benjamin Nolan, a student at the University of Chicago, used the “Internet Hate Machine” in the title of his masters thesis on the political discourse found in Anonymous communications. As of September 2012, there are more than 600 results for “internet hate machine” on Chanarchive.[6
As the video clip of the news segment continued to gain traction, some YouTube users began to remix it or create YouTube Poop with the original footage.
A handful of journalists and bloggers have extended the usage of the term “Internet Hate Machine” to not only included Anonymous members, but anyone who participates in negative or cyberbullying commentary online, as found in articles by religious blog Think Christian in reference to the reception of Rebecca Black’s Friday and Radio Free Europe to describe the backlash experience of an athlete in the London 2012 Olympic Games after finishing in fourth place. Additionally in April 2012, the phrase was falsely attributed to humor site 9gag by members of the BodyBuilding.com forums and Reddit.
University of Chicago – The Discourse Politics of the Internet Hate Machine
Think Christian – Rob Bell, Rebecca Black and the Internet Hate Machine
Radio Free Europe – An Orgy Of Outrage: Tom Daley, Twitter, And The Internet Hate Machine
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